37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2005
The recording is "legendary" and the music is amongst my favourites. But the thing that always astonishes me when hearing Britten, the performer, is how great his reputation would be, purely as a recording artist, if he'd never written a note.
Little of his output is in my collection. A wonderful performance of Mozart's 40th Symphony, conducted by him, at the Maltings. And this, three pieces from a recital by him annd Mstislav Rostropovich.
I had not realised that their relationship had grown out of performing together. I have the Cello Symphony, on vinyl, and it's a wonderful piece, which, this recording shows, has it roots in performance.
The cello performance is peerless; the accompaniment judged to perfection. Britten's touch on the keyboard is immaculate. There are few pianists who could match him, even fewer who could be judged his superior.
This goes to my collection with extreme delight, and fits into the top ten of my CDs.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2012
My wife gave me this CD for my birthday. I don't listen to chamber music very much, but this recording I think is going to change this. The CD in Decca's 'Legends' series, contains Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, Schumann's Fünf Stücke im Volkston and Debussy's Cello Sonata.
The CD opens with the Schubert, recorded in 1968. It immediately attracts the attention. Britten is a truly sympathetic accompanist, from the first note. Rostropovich is in excellent form. Together they are greater than the sum of their combined talents. Much the same can be said of the Schumann and Debussy (both from 1961). The Debussy is certainly well worth a listen, particularly if you are not so keen on the composers other work.
These stereo recordings date from the 1960s. The sound is excellent throughout, albeit with some slight tape hiss audible in the earlier recordings. I could easily have thought that Schubert was a modern digital recording - no analogue tape aberrations were audible to me. They all benefit from Dolby A noise reduction.
The booklet is a good read, with text written by Graham Johnson, another excellent accompanist.
The only word of caution is to make sure that you order the correct CD. These recordings have been issued over the years paired with a variety of other pieces (including the Bridge Sonata).
Very highly recommended, not least to newcomers to chamber music and Debussy.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2006
6 years ago now I moved in with a cellist in Hamburg Germany. He was a lovely chap but there was one thing that always bothered him about me ... my taste in music!
I was into my rock, grunge and metal at the time and he couldn't understand the beauty or intelligence behind it!
We agreed to swap one cd that we felt was a wonderful burning example of our differing genres.
He lent me this CD and I still listen to it and appreciate it today.
The perfection in these two gentlemens collaboration is next to none. And the recording is squeakie clean.
Since then I've dug deeper into Debuddy, Chopin, Mozart, etc. and found other gems but few have moved me in such a profound way.
I lent him "Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dreams" btw ... he thought it was terrible!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This disc contains recordings made in 1961 (Schumann) and 1968. The actual remastered recorded quality still remains superlative and sounds as if made yesterday. It would be easy to imagine the players to be in the same room, so realistic is the recording. The program illustrates exactly the very special musical relationship that Britten and Rostropovich created between themselves and which, certainly in this instance, is an example of the sum exceeding the individual parts.
Both musicians were outstanding in their own ways of course, Britten as an accomplished pianist and accompanist, and Rostropovich as cellist (and also pianist). What we have here though, is a complete synthesis of musical minds and their instinctive interplay that is really quite special.
The instances where special and mutual insights into each others musical responses and where each is able to totally accommodate the other are simply too numerous to list. They occur almost by the second and result in a continuous stream of inspiration. All three pieces take on a range of expression that defies description and marks these performances as uniquely satisfying. The result is one of live music making at the highest possible level. My only regret is that space for the equally fine performance of Britten's own cello sonata has not been found.
As the heading says, this disc is not so much definitive as unique and marvellous. I would therefore suggest that, whatever other performances purchasers may have of this repertoire on disc, this disc by Britten and Rostropovich certainly deserves very serious consideration as a 'must buy.'
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2007
I have well over 2000 CDs and this is simply one of my most treasured. I never tire of listening to it. I originally bought it for the Schubert but discovered that the performances of the Schumann and Debussy are wonderful too. An irreplacable record of two great musicians together.
on 29 June 2013
This re-mastered one-off classical recording, almost last minute, is superb, especially as Rostropovich was unfamiliar with the Schubert coming from Russia where at that time the Romantics were not played being politically not 'correct'. They seemed to make a perfect duo; extremely sensitive to each other's playing. Maglet.
on 1 November 2012
Every note is imbued with such musicality and genius. Britten and Rostropovich respond in such a way that you cannot fail to be totally engaged and involved with them. For some modern tastes these may be over-romantic performances, but if you approach them without prejudice they will open a new world of insight.
on 16 May 2014
A most wonderful collection. Superb playing by two stellar performers. Britten shows that he could have had a brilliant career as a performer.
on 20 August 2013
I have wanted this particular CD for so very long and finally I can listen (and have done) to my hearts delight. i just can not hear it enough!
on 26 November 2013
Some really inspired playing by great artists,and some beautiful pieces of music,,great value for money,,if in doubt buy it now!!